— Sallustius Roman philosopher and writer
Context: Next in order comes knowledge of the first cause and the subsequent orders of the Gods, then the nature of the world, the essence of intellect and of soul, then providence, fate, and fortune, then to see virtue and formed from them, and from what possible source evil came into the world.
Each of these subjects needs many long discussions; but there is perhaps no harm in stating them briefly, so that a disciple may not be completely ignorant about them.
It is proper to the first cause to be one — for unity precedes multitude — and to surpass all things in power and goodness. Consequently all things must partake of it. For owing to its power nothing else can hinder it, and owing to its goodness it will not hold itself apart.
If the first cause were soul, all things would possess soul. If it were mind, all things would possess mind. If it were being, all things would partake of being. And seeing this quality in all things, some men have thought that it was being. Now if things simply were, without being good, this argument would be true, but if things that are are because of their goodness, and partake in the good, the first thing must needs be both beyond-being and good. It is strong evidence of this that noble souls despise being for the sake of the good, when they face death for their country or friends or for the sake of virtue. — After this inexpressible power come the orders of the Gods.
V. On the First Cause